Pictures and Report by Ron Fine.
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Thatís not snow on the ground! It may have been late November but in Aurora, North Carolina it was a sunny 50 degrees. Perfect for spending six to seven hours crawling around on bare ground and carrying all your food, water, equipment and specimens everywhere you go.
Everyone arrived early Saturday morning by the PCS Phosphate Mine main gate, about 7:30, and gathered around the volunteers to start the day. In the background you can see some of the buses used to transport mine employees. PCS generously provided one to us for our trip into the area of the mine designated for fossil hunting.
As the volunteers instructed us in the mineís safety rules we filled out consent forms and met some of our fellow fossil hunters from other clubs around the country.
Hard hats in place and paperwork complete, we awaited the go ahead to board the bus and begin our quest for shark teeth. Its still a bit nippy at that hour so everyone was dressed warm, but after a few hours it warmed up and was very comfortable.
And away we go, equipment in tow, to begin our grand shark tooth hunting adventure. Leading the way are Dry Dredger members Genny and Robin Greene.
A short drive into the mine and there we were, at the edge of the area set aside for us fossil hunters. In this 180 degree panarama you can see the giant drag lines in the active part of the mine on the far left. Imagine how many shark teeth you could dig up with one of those! Itís a half hour hike for those brave enough to go to the back of the designated fossil hunting area.
Everyone scattered, looking for that special spot no one else found where all the big shark teeth were no doubt hiding.
Bits of shell and coral littered the ground just about everywhere we looked. There are so many whole Quahog clams that we quickly tired of picking them up.
We took walkee-talkees with us to communicate while in the mine. I managed to locate a corner no one had searched since the last time it rained and called Genny and Robin to join me in checking it out. Hereís Robin settled in to a spot rich in small shark teeth.
Genny also found a good spot, to bury my body if I donít stop taking pictures.
Hey look, I found a shark tooth! I did well this trip, finding about seventy shark teeth, but all were under an inch long. Thatís not all gut! My backpack and coat pockets were already full and the elastic band on the bottom of my coat made for a really big pouch to carry even more stuff. I brought home fifty-seven pounds of material, all of which I had to carry with me back to the bus at the end of the day. Most people use a five-gallon bucket to carry the bulk of their findings. Being a packrat I found this rather limiting, not to mention painful to the hand after a while. I bought a small wheeled suitcase at Goodwill for $5 and just towed it around in the mine. Iím thinking dump truck next time!
At the end of the day we all made our way out of the mine and gathered together by the bus.
Everyone showed off their best finds and loaded back on the bus to end the day. I heard a three inch whale tooth was found.
Next Page: Photos of some of the fossils I found
T A B L E OF C O N T E N T S
Page 1: The Site
Page 2: Clams Part 1
Page 3: Clams Part 2
Page 4: Scallops, Holes in Clams, Clams in Coral
Page 5: Oysters and Gastropods
Page 6: Coral, Barnacles, Bryozoa, Sponges, Urchins, Crabs and Worms
Page 7: Fish, Rays, Sharks, Dolphins, Whales and Dung
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